Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Prepping for Halloween in the produce isle

We're at the store shopping for squish (Lorelei's sweet name for squash) and other goodies.


Happy Halloween everyone!!


Saturday, October 6, 2012

It's 6 o'clock somewhere

Yeah...

My head's-first approach to drastically altering my diet with the idea that I would lose weight was a fail. I felt hungry all the time, unsatisfied, and cranky about it all. I know I need to do something, but, it's funny, I just can't seem to Just Do It.

It seems simple: change what you eat and you will change your body. Calories in vs. Calories out.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

You're going the wrong way!!

Humor me, will you? For the next two minutes and twenty-eight seconds, will you humor me?

Watch:




Now, let's look at the scene above and break it down a bit, shall we?  (This won't be painful, I swear.)

First: I thought of the title of this clip when I stepped on my scale this morning after a week of this cockamamie Vegan Before 6 idea took hold of my brain.

Second: I'm a dolt and couldn't figure out how to get the five seconds of movie clip that I really wanted, so I'm going a different way with this post.

Third: (Warning: I'm going Freudian on your any way...)

There are three distinct parts to the above video.

The Id
The Ego
And the Super Ego

Let's define them:

John Candy as The Id - i.e. representing my potentially misguided, yet well-intentioned decision to jump headlong into the shallow end of a dietary concept. Candy's character thinks that the couple in the car must be so backwardly wrong that he mocks their very engagement, even thought they are desperately trying to save him and others involved.

Steve Martin as the Ego - i.e. representing my legitimizing and sharing of the idea to anyone and everyone who cared to listed or not. Martin's character blithely assumes, at Candy's word, that the couple in the car are off their rocker, or just are simply wrong in their assumptions.

The Couple In The Car as the Super Ego - i.e. reality.


You see, friends, even thought I have been eating an inordinate amount of vegetables and fruit, cutting out insane amounts of cheese and meat, and literally been hungry for the last week, the scale is...


GOING THE WRONG WAY!!!!

Thank you for humoring a larger than life lady who is growing wider every day.


-------------

Sticking to the regimen, with one, mid-afternoon "I have a deadline and I must have brain function to reach that goal" exception: mini bagel, cream cheese, and salami. 

Goal reached. No guilt. Tomorrow is a new day.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Allowances

I'm pretty happy with how I have been able to stick with this Vegan Before 6 thing. There is one place where I've given myself a small allowance, however. I strongly feel that it's for the betterment of my home life, my work life, and, dare I say, for society as a whole.


A dash of milk in my coffee. I couldn't stomach black coffee without cheese on my toast, or scrambled eggs in front of me, so, while I suck on my celery, I'm drinking my daily dose of get up and go.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Sated and surprised

I'm sitting here at my desk, tapping away at my keyboard realizing how satisfied I am after lunch. It's 2:00, I ate my 1/2 tomato, hummus, and Triscuits at 12:30, and I feel great. No cravings for cheese. No need for a bagel or a cup of coffee to wake up. I don't know if I'm losing weight in all of this, but it certainly is an interesting experiment I'm conducting.

Just wait, I'll pass out of delirious hunger in 20 minutes but my blood sugar will be so low that I won't have the ability to



Sunday, September 23, 2012

Trying something new - Vegan Before Six

Last Wednesday I went to go see Mark Bittman talk in downtown Seattle. I have been a fan of his for some time, and sometimes not so much, so I was excited to hear what he had to say in person. Truth be told, I was under impressed with his presentation, but I did come away from his talk with something that I have applied to my daily life, and expect to do so for at least a month to see if it has any impact.

At the end of his talk, Bittman realized that he had a couple of minutes to tell a story that was more of an aside to his regular script. He told the audience that a few years ago he went to his doctor 40 pounds over weight, unable to comfortably do his regular exercises, and feeling rather sluggish. His doctor told him his cholesterol and blood sugar were out of whack and that he needed to loose some weight.

So what did he do? He decided, as a food writer, a chef, and all around foodie, that he couldn't go on any kind of elimination diet, and that there was no way that he could or even wanted to give up all of the food that he loved. What he was willing to do, however, was become a vegan before six.

Huh?

What he meant by this is that he cut out dairy, meat, and animal proteins during the day, then, at 6:00pm, he ate as he normally did. This apparently worked for him because six weeks after that earlier doctor's visit, he had lost 25 pounds.

This intrigued me. As a foodie and a mom who refuses to cook more than one meal at a time, this also made a lot of sense. I haven't been able to come up with a plan for myself that seemed doable, but the idea of eating around my cheese drawer in the daytime seemed like it could be easily done. So, for the last four days I have been following the idea of being vegan before six.

If you do the math, Bittman lost an average of 4+ pounds a week. In my four days at it, I have yet to see that kind of weight loss, but what I have noticed is just how much dairy I was consuming. As my family and friends can tell you, I am a cheesehead. I love, love, love cheese, so much so that I have always thought that becoming a cheese monger would be a dream job (there's still time for that.) I have also noticed that I am just eating less, which is probably a surefire way to drop some pounds.

Yes, friends, I am officially fat. I'm not the kind of pudgy that you can pass off as 'just a little extra' or even 'curvy.' Mama has gotten off balance in the food department (Lorelei hasn't, though. I've made sure of that.) So, I need to make some changes without rocking my already-wobbly boat too much, and so far, I've been able to wrap my brain around this idea.

We'll see if I drop any weight. I'll keep you posted. And, no, I'm not going to tell you how much I weigh now or share a before picture. I'll share those details when they are in my past... you nosey bunch, you.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Sometimes you just have to turn the page

I haven't had a lot to say about food and feeding my kid of late. I've been super busy blogging for my company (yes, if you remember, this blog got me a blog job. Ha! Who'da thunk, right?!)

Anyhoo, what I'm finding myself wanting to talk about but have kept my trap shut about on this blog is the frustrations of being three. This being, at least initially, a food-focused blog, I haven't wanted to vent... er... share my experiences of parenthood of a three-year-old in regard to things away from feeding my child and sharing recipes,

but ....

FOR FUCK SAKE!!! 
WHAT HAPPENED TO SWEET, 
DRIBBLING, 
SOMETIMES-CRANKY 
darling-of-a-child that I once had?!?


Now, please know that I'm not bragging when I say this, but I am very pleased to tell you that I did set up a good groundwork for my kiddo's dietary habits. She likes salad, beans are her favorite, she is insistent that I try new things, and she is very good about doing the same herself. My frustrations (happily) do not lie in that realm of our relationship.

What I don't get, however, is the demonic, deaf, banshee-like flopping fits that occur when you hand the child a piece of bread that is toasted as opposed to not. 

What I can't grasp is the thrashing about in the carseat in protest to when I turn off the radio in order to hear the child speak. (It is important to listen and hear what your kids are saying to you from time to time, right?)

What I am learning is that when my mother growled these words to me when I was four years old, "You shall reap as you have sewn, young lady" is that what she meant to say was, "When your child is this age, I know that God in Heaven, or Karma, or whatever power is out there that governs your future,  youuuuuu wiiillllll ruuuuuueee the daaaaaaayyyyy.

Even now we are having a tug of war. A war of wills. She's screaming and I'm trying to be in my quiet place. (You may be asking yourself, "Why the hell are you writing in a damn blog? THAT's you're quiet place?" Well, it's either venting through my words that someone may read or crying into a pillow, and I don't feel like crying right now. I have dinner to get on the table and I can't see all that well when my eyes are all swollen from tears.)

I feel like an ass hole most of the time, frankly. My friends tell me I'm doing it right, but I still feel bad most of the time. I have guilt that I'm too strict. I feel like I don't take enough time for her: reading, doing puzzles, helping her with you name it... But I'm doing everything else, so I just, ugh, I simply just can't.

I'm tired. I'm always tired. My mom gives me a hard time telling me to ease up on my social calendar, but the truth is, when friends come over with their kids, that's the time where I don't have to entertain the child. It's the time when I get to actually have adult conversation. It's the time where I don't have to censor myself (too much), and it's the time when I can tuck away for 5 minutes and get the laundry out of the dryer without company.

I have a confession. Today, when I left work, I stepped into the elevator and when the door closed, I cried a bit during the ten-floor descent. I knew that that time would be the only time I would have to myself all day.

That's all for now.

Expect more ''sharing of life experiences" than recipes for the time being. 

For dinner tonight: Mom had Triscuits and Tillamook Cheddar cheese (an über comfort food favorite) and for Lorelei... I don't know. My dear friend Lidia just called and kicked me out of the house. Mama's going to see Mark Bittman speak in Seattle tonight.


____________________________________________________________________

This week's guilty pleasures:
- The afore mentioned Triscuits and Cheddar Cheese
- Trader Joe's cheapest wine (just above Gato Blanco)
- Essential Bakery's rosemary bread with tomatoes, fresh mozz, and basil
- The Voice
- David Cross' I drink for a reason





Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Mama's back in the kitchen - and going gray.

Ahhh tomatoes. Like every other food blogger ON EARTH, I am posting a picture of a quintessential summer dish: Caprese.

This one is made with fresh Mozz from my local market, vine-ripened tomatoes (no... not the organic heirlooms which were near $6 a pound), fresh basil that's taking over my mom's back yard, salted tomato water, olive oil, and a few turns of cracked pepper.

All I can say is, yum!


I would say, "Going, going, gone," but it was more like,

Going, 
slurp, 
sounds that could be misinterpreted as being sensual, 
then...


Then, gone. Salted basilic tomato water and all.


It should be noted that I was alone in my efforts, 
save one forcibly encouraged bite that the child took.

On that note:

An interesting thing has happened in regard to feeding my foodie kid since I've stepped back from this blog for a bit. She's now three-an-a-half going on the most stubborn sixteen-year-old you've ever met. Mind you, she still eats any and all of the things I put in front of her (good early pallet training to thank for that) but there are perceptions she has towards the definitions of given meals through the day that go beyond my comprehension and that cause, from time to time, world war Shaking the walls and I'm going to win not you kind of, let's call them, tiffs. ubt

Breakfast: noun  (Child's definition) an obstacle to be avoided at all costs in order to, a) not have to go to school b) delay spending time in front of thekkkjit; ;  TV c) unabashedly defying mom's edict

Mom's learned tactic to avoid conflict and get child fed before the imminent departure: whatever you do, DON'T CALL IT BREAKFAST and offer, if not place out favorite items for child's personal assembly:

i.e.
- cereal box + milk carton + bowl + spoon = success.

Other go to equations equal:

- unopened yogurt container + portion of granola in jar + bowl of berries + spoon = total win and maybe even a thumbs up from the kiddo!

- an invitation to help cook eggs + utensil to gather necessary butter for the egg pan + ask for assistance to get a fresh plate from the dishwasher = fascinated and sated child.

And finally (there are more if you care to hear):

- place a piece of bread in the toaster over + (watch mom turn on oven... hands off zone) + instruct child to gather jelly and spoon for spreading said condiment on soon-to-be-toasted selection of bready goodness = a mumbling, happy monkey.

The attitude continues around a lot of things food these days, I think because I took such a hard line from the start. But the foundation has been laid, and I am happy for it. My kid will try everything that she is fed and will give in when the fight she's been laying out is clearly lost (meaning she really likes that which she decided to not like despite her mama's say.)

So, what to do with a kiddo that loves food but needs to control her world a little more? Let her, to a point, and figure out some ways to get my way; meaning the way that she needs for her health and well-being (both dietary and for reasons of self sustenance when she's grown.) I won't call it trickery because I'm not, and won't, hide foods in food just to get it in my kid's diet, rather, I'll use different words:

"Do you want yogurt?"

not,

"Do you want breakfast?" for instance.

(Currently beating head against table, kitchen counter, head board... er-um. Ha! Here's wishing.)


Lord help me through these years. Frankly, I feel like this a lot these days...





Do you have any tips to help me and maybe some of my readers who are parents as to how to deal with attitude in toddlers-cum-shit heads? (It's a term of endearment, really!)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

10 Things I Want My Daughter to Know

I have never, full out, reposted another blog here. I am today.

As a parent, as a single parent, as someone who can't watch the news because it makes my stomach churn with disgust and utter fear for the state of the world and any sense of normalcy in life, finding a collection of thought as to how best to teach my daughter how to be a good person and a woman in this fast-paced, over-informed, under-impressed world is such a breath of fresh air that I will indeed share it here... and probably print out all of the 10 ideas/tips for later reference.

I found this on Babble.com's Fcebook feed. It you don't follow them, and you're a parent, you should. Some of the stuff is blather, but from time to time they have gems like this, which is totally worth the slanted glances and scroll-overs.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

My blog got me a blog job!

Did I mention that this blog got me a job as a Blog Editor? Yep, since April I've been the blog editor for an online language learning community and I have loved it. Who'da thunk that doing this blog would give me a marketable skill set?!

What do I mean by marketable? Well, in an attempt to find a job that had steady pay instead of tips as income, I went out on a lot of interviews earlier this year. I was looking for catering sales positions (that's what I did before I went back to school in 2004) and, much to my surprise, during at least three of those interviews I was asked me bout my blogging and social media experience.

Then, in March, a good friend of mine caught wind that her company was going to hire a blog editor. Turns out that she thought that I would be a perfect fit for the position. She stalked me for a week and made sure that my nerved didn't get in my way; I thought that my blog was just a hobby, not a real job.

On my 40th birthday, I interviewed with my now-boss, and soon learned that the job was mine.

Here's the moral to this story: face your fears, follow your heart, believe in yourself, and don't let anyone questions your decisions (especially yourself). You are the only one who knows what's best for you, and when you don't, have the courage to believe the friends who believe in you. Their support may help you make the best decisions of your life.

I must admit that there is one downside to my new job: by the time I get home from my blog job I'm a little too drained to attend to this blog. I'll still post some gems from time to time, but in the meantime I would like to direct you to some blogs that I have really been enjoying.

The Little Red Chair

Paris By Mouth

The French Market Maven

Honey & Jam

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Repurposing found objects

I picked up a free lazy Susan last weekend on a walk around the block. When I got it home it seemed out of place. I thought to use during Scrabble games, or on the dining room table for... something. I wasn't sure. Then, last night, Lorelei got up onto the ottoman where it was perched and sat on the damn thing; spinning herself 'round and 'round. 

Thirty minutes of spinning, twirling, and contorting to find the best and fastest position ended with her barfing in my hands.

Fun times had by all!



Thursday, May 31, 2012

Springtime in our back yard - a little dirt never hurt anyone

I'm still digging dirt out of Lorelei's fingernails after having her help me plant a bunch of veggies and herbs tonight. My neighbor Tracy has been kind enough to let me spill into her yard and share her newly-forged garden bed.
Recovered and well gnawed on popsicle sticks.
Lorelei helped get it up and running.
You see, my back yard is a slab of concrete. I love it for oh so many reasons: Sidewalk chalk, basketball, no lawn to mow. You know, important things in life. But I do miss having even a little spot of earth to plant some things in the springtime from where I can graze off of when I'm cooking dinner (and when I've forgotten to pick said ingredient(s) up at the store.)

(That sentence made me dizzy. You OK?)

Anyhoo, Here's what we have to look forward to in the coming weeks/months.


Lets see if the plants can survive basket ball season...

Basil, two tomatoes, pumpkin starts in the red pots, and onions and carrots back there in the dirt.


It's not the prettiest garden, but I'm pretty happy about what's coming up. To quote Lorelei, "Yum mama! This is gonna be goon and num num!"


Happy Spring everyone.


Santé

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Sweet memories and a sad goodbye

My Grandmother Odette died today of complications of a long battle with Alzheimer's disease. She was eighty-eight years old... I think.

I didn't know my Grandmother well. I'm a 40-year old woman and I haven't spoken to her in 20 years. I'm not sure why. As my Daddy always says, "The phone works both ways." Well, maybe I should have picked up one of the two ends of the line.

Anyhoo, I would like to share some things that I will remember about her until my last day:

She was a dancer. Ballet. I always loved that she was a dancer and that I was too.

She spoke French. Turns out, I do too. I even have a degree in it.

She made me Sarah Lee cakes for my birthday. You're right, they weren't the gastronome's dream but they tasted damn good with melted birthday candle wax on them.

Her hair was perfectly kept in the 1960's. She had a weekly hair appointment and apparently slept sitting straight up, I say this because her hair, at least whenever I saw it, was always perfectly in place.

She always had strawberry candies in the bottom kitchen drawer. They were those strawberry-patterned, cellophane-wrapped hard candies with the soft center; but hers had clearly been there for a good long while because the hard candy shell had softened ever so. I loved that about her candy drawer.

She screamed a raspy "AACK"when something would spill or fall. I am happy to say that my Aunt Karen and I share that same call of surprise when something goes awry.

She always smelled pretty.

She called me darling.

She was a small woman. I suspect that I would have towered over her in my adult years and broken her in half had I chosen to sit on her for any reason. The first time I ever hear the phrase, "She wouldn't weigh a hundred pounds if she were wet!" was in reference to her.


In retrospect, there are a lot of, "Woulda', shoulda', coulda's" in the subtext of this note. All in all, though, I see a lot of myself in (what I knew of) my Grandma Odette. And I like that... very much.

I have and I will miss her. Rest in peace, Grandma. Visit me in my dreams, will you?



Sunday, May 13, 2012

Please Help Me - Donations for a good cause


In January I was asked by the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation to be one of just a few ambassadors for the upcoming The Food Revolution Day on May 19th. I joined the ranks of The Real Food Advocates (see a full list all of the ambassadors below) and promised to raise $500 dollars to donate to food education programs sponsored by The Food Revolution people.

Yeah, I know... it's May 13th.

Truth be told, in January I was spending all of my time looking for work. This blog suffered a bit (in that I all but stopped posting stories and recipes), and, frankly, life was taking all of my time.

So here I am, 6 days away from the event and I'm just now asking for your help.

Please Help Me Reach My Goal
of raising $500


Here's some verbiage from the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation about this fundraising effort:

"All money raised will go towards funding the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation's Food Education Program. The Food Education program funds all projects of the Food Foundation including their network of Food Revolution kitchens, the Food Revolution Cooking Classroom Big Rig, Training tools and education for the Food Revolution community leaders, Groceries and supplies for the cooking classroom, School Kitchen Garden pilot program and an overall growth of their grassroots movement. Every donation you make helps the Food Foundation continue to work and improve the health prospects of the next generation."


If you would like to donate through the PayPal Donate button below, this will be the one way that I will be able to track my personal funds raised.




If you prefer to donate to the cause directly, you may do so via the Jamie Oliver Food Revolution button below. I won't get personal credit for these funds, but I'm ok with that. As long as they get the money.


Check out these pages if you have any more questions:



The Food Revolution Day website

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. You support will be much appreciated and will help a lot of people.


Santé


Here's a list of the other ambassadors that are working toward this common goal of raising awareness and funds for this great cause:




Friday, May 4, 2012

A simple recipe for Cinco de Mayo - Ceviche

I may have grown up in California, but I've learned more about Mexican food working is a pseudo French restaurant in Seattle than anywhere else. You see, kind readers, one of the owners of the restaurant is half Mexican and she has a lovely spell over the guys in the kitchen. They make Chile Reillenos, insanely good egg dishes with fresh salsa, and (Heaven on Earth) Ceviche.

Ling Cod Ceviche with mango, poblano pepper, onion, and cilantro, served with tostadas.

I learned to love and really appreciate Ceviche at this restaurant. If you're not familiar with the Ceviche, it's the acid-'cooked' fish dish that'll bring any real fish lover to there knees. No kidding. When the season is right, and the fish is fresh, there is nothing, and I mean nothing that tastes more sweet, savory, tart, tangy, and superbly fresh as Ceviche.

I tried my hand at making it the other night because, well, I needed something fresh and springy; it's still only 47º in Seattle and it's this time of year that Seattleites are forced to substitute sunshine in their food due to the lack of said orb in the sky. I knew Lorelei would eat it (it's fish served with crunchy things, after all).

So I went to my fish monger and asked what the freshest and cheapest fish was that day. The Ling Cod looked the best. I grabbed a half of a pound and headed on home with that and the rest of my fresh ingredients and had at it.


Ingredients:
1/2 lb fresh white fish, diced: Cod, Dole, Snapper, Prawns or even Scallops
4 limes, juiced
1 Poblano pepper, finely diced
1/2 Mango, finely dices
1/2 White onion, diced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped coarsely
Salt to taste

Instructions:

1) Juice the limes: I learned a trick from my boss. The best way to get all you can out of a lime it to ream it with a fork. Insert a fork into the center of the pith when, while firmly squeezing the lime in one hand, make a rocking motion with your two hands.
 
 
There will be nothing left to give after you're done.
2) Cut the fish into 1/2" cubes. Immediately place the fish into the lime juice. Be sure that all of the meat is submerged in the liquid because this is what will cook it.*

3) Chop the onion, pepper, and mango into 1/8" pieces and set them aside 
TIP: Here's a tip on how to cut a mango. 

Mangoes are slippery little beasts. The easiest way that I've found to cut it into small pieces is to score the flesh with the tip of a knife while it's still in the skin then scoop it out with a large spoon.


The same can be done with avocados, a similarly slippery fruit.

TIP: For cutting your pepper, slice it in half, pull out the seeds and white bibs, then turn it cut-side down and flatten it. This will allow you to easily slice even strips and not chase the damn thing around your cutting board.



4) Coarsely chop your cilantro, and set aside.

When your fish is opaque through the center of the pieces, add the rest of the ingredients and a dash of salt.

Serve in a bowl with tostadas or tortilla chips and enjoy.


You may be wondering if Lorelei liked it. Not only did she like the Ceviche, she really dug the mango pit. Definitely a hit!!

Let your kiddo scrape the rest of the mango flesh from the pit. It's a messy, wonderful, and healthy treat... outside!


Happy Cinco de Mayo, and Santé



*Here's a great Washington Post article on the chemistry behind preparing/cooking fish with acid.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Reusing Jars as Storage Containers

I've gone a little jar happy lately. On my Pinterest page I actually have a board called "Jars and what to do with them." There are so many fun and creative ways to reuse glass jars before they are recycled. Here's one (not so creative) way that I use leftover jars in my kitchen.

Lorelei and I like to have cottage cheese and pears for breakfast or for an afternoon snack on a regular basis. About a year ago I bought a jar of pear halves at Trader Joe's. They were pretty good, but they quickly became my favorite pears because of their container.


The labels come off easily, they are tall and slender which optimizes the vertical space in the cabinets, and the best part (for me at least) is that I can see what's in them. (I'm a bit forgetful, you see.)



I'm also a sucker for Bonne Maman jelly jars. Honestly I have a lot of these because this Bonne Maman is my all-time favorite jelly, but it doesn't hurt that the gingham pattern of the lid is charming and they stack easily. 



 Here are a couple of recipes that I've used Bonne Mama's chestnut preserve:


And Lorelei's favorite, 


What are some of your favorite ways to reuse jars? Share your pictures and ideas in the comments. It may just get 'pinned' on my board. ;-)


Santé



Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Food Photography - 3-year-old style

Our neighbor made Chile Rellenos. Lorelei took a picture.


Pretty good, huh?

I guess her 'ol mom's rubbing off on her.




Nice.




Santé


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

This is Dinner! - It's Never Too Early to Lay Down The Law


This is a repost from last year but it still rings very true. I can't tell you how often I see parents let their kids dictate what they will eat for lunch or dinner and, I'm sorry, but it frustrates the heck out of me. Here's one story that I'm not sure I will ever forget.


I recently attended a parent teacher meeting at my daughter's daycare.  It was a brown bag lunch where all of the parents of the toddler classes (kids age 18-months to 2.5 years) sat around a big table and learned about what was happening in the classrooms.  When it came time for parents to ask questions of the teachers, of course the topic of food and eating came up.

The first mom to ask a question had concerns about her 20-month old daughter taking to only wanting bread and potatoes and nothing else.  The teachers and other parents said it was normal and that it would pass.  Then another mom piped in agreeing with the others then continued to say that her boy (2 years old) had eaten the same dinner for for the last year.

I think the sound of my jaw hitting the table made the room quiet (either that or my gasp of disbelief had sucked all of the oxygen out of the room), because the entire table of parents turned to me at once.  I couldn't help myself but blurt out, "You have GOT to be kidding?!  You mean to say that you cook two dinners every night?  One for him and another for the rest of the family?"  She shrugged her shoulder and said with a defeated smirk, "Yep" as if there was nothing she could so about it.

I took a deep breath, turned to the mother-of-a-bread-eater and said, "It's never too early to say to your child 'This is dinner'."  Shock rippled through the crowd of twenty or so parents, but the teachers nodded their heads and openly said, "She's right."  I went on to say that kids will not starve if they don't eat dinner one night.  Yeah they may be hungry later that evening and yeah you may have a long night, but chances are that they'll remember the harsh lesson.

Remember, this is the age when kids are flexing their independence and testing their boundaries.  The act of not eating dinner can be an act of defiance for defiance's sake; they're not doing it because you told them to.  If you let them win this battle (like the mom-of-one-dish did) you are setting yourself up for major struggles when it comes to really important things later on down the line.  You are the boss.  You are the parent.  Even if you don't think so, your kids have to learn that you know what's best.  Following your lead is one way that your kids will learn to trust you.  They may do it reluctantly, but they'll do it and learn from it.  Tell them that you love them, give 'em hugs and kisses, but, "this is the way it is."

(In the same swipe, I'm not a believer in making a kid sit in front of a lone broccoli florete until he eats it.  When dinner is over for the family, he should clear the table and clean up like usual, but there should be another consequence, something that is immediate and appropriate for the offense; in my house it's no SpongeBob after dinner).

All in all, when it comes to cooking for your kids, yes, of course cook to their tastes... to a point.  Introduce something new at least once a week, whether it's a new vegetable, a new protein, a new bread or condiment.  In the end, you will both benefit and (hopefully) you will guide your kiddo into being willing to try new things on their dinner plate.  And, if their minds are open to new foods, perhaps they'll be open to new ideas, people, art, you name it.  That's pretty cool in my book.


Santé

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Dog Days of a Seattle Spring

It's cold and wet in Seattle right now. No, I mean really wet and stupidly cold.

Frankly, I'm OVER IT!!!!!!!!!!!!

I moved to Seattle happily years ago and, for the most part, I love it, but this year, I'm ready for summer damn it!!

So...

Here's my remedy; for me and for Lorelei.

"Spicy Milk"

I posted this last year, but I'm resurrecting it... in April... 'cause it's cold.

CRAP!!!

Enjoy.

If you didn't click the words "Spicy Milk" above go to the link below. No kidding, it's really really good. it's our house's version of chocolate milk.

http://www.thefood-mindedmama.com/2011/08/stroke-of-sweet-sweet-genious.html



Santé

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Healthier ideas for your Easter Baskets

Easter is a week away. If you're like me you're just now thinking about what to do for decorating boiled eggs and getting your kiddos' easter baskets ready to go. When I went to the store yesterday to get the basket fix in's I wasn't surprised to only see chocolate, candy, more candy, and more chocolate stocked on the Holiday isle. I nabbed a chocolate bunny (a hollow one... I feel like such a loser. Must Go Back to get a filled one) then headed off to get some healthier snacks for filling Lorelei's shiny plastic eggs.

Here's what I got:


Newman's Own Chocolate Alphabet Cookies
I liked the idea of using these alphabet cookies from Newman's Own for my preschooler because we could practice out letters and crunch on some yummy cookies at the same time. (That and they are made with organic ingredients and proceeds go to charitable organizations.)

Annie's Organic Cheddar Bunnies 
Bunnies. An Egg full of bunnies is a perfect choice for Easter. 'Nuf said.


Happy Easter everyone.

Santé

   


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Danger in the kitchen - Don't do as I do

I blew up my Pyrex bowl.

No really. It literally exploded on the stove.

I was so proud of myself for setting (and actually getting up to) an alarm yesterday morning. I got Lorelei all set up with breakfast and started to do the dishes. I thought that while I was unloading the dishwasher I could set a pot to boil for my tea. So, I turned the burner on and continued to put things away.

Here's where my fatal (and really, really dangerous) error occurred. When unloading the dishwasher, I put my big, blue, Pyrex mixing bowl on the front burner of the electric stove, the tea pot being on the back.

Guess which burner was on.

After a few minutes with my back turned to the stove, I thought to myself, "Self. Why is that water not boiling yet?"

When I turned around, there was my bowl, sitting dead center on glowing red coils. I won't share the expletive that I belted out, but I will say that the volume at which it was bellowed shook the walls.

Ok, there was another major foible that, in hind sight, might have saved the bowl (hot glass + cold surface = breakage), a half an hour, and tons of frustration.

I moved the bowl to a cold burner. Two seconds later,

BA BOOOOOOM!


Needless to say, there was blue glass all over the kitchen. I even felt shards hit my thigh. (I'm very happy that Lorelei was out of the kitchen when this happened because the flying glass was right at her eye level.)

I stood for a moment, assessing the damage (and watching the still disintegrating bowl), told the startled Lorelei to stay waaaay out of the kitchen and to get me some shoes. (She came back with my mustard-yellow, patten leather, open-toed, 3" Mary Janes. That's my girl!)

I won't bore you with the details of the cleanup, but I will lend some sound advice.

Never, never, never, never, NEVER put a glass bowl on the stove.

I'm thinking I won't get a Pyrex sponsorship from this one. What do you think?


Santé



Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A year goes by so quickly

I've never really followed the beaten path. Those who know me know that I have very strong ideas about what I think is right and wrong and I stick to my guns (sometimes to my detriment.) So when people started to ask me why my daughter was such a good eater at such a young age (one- and two-years old), I wasn't quite sure what they were talking about. I just fed my kid what I thought tasted good and what I knew was good for her. I fed her a balanced diet and I included her in the cooking process from the beginning; by that I mean that I would hold my infant on my hip and show her the peas that I was boiling to make her baby food, or let her stir all of the ingredients together for our Thanksgiving stuffing when she was 18-months old.

With so many people asking me the same question, though, I started to notice that some kids would only eat bread, or they would refuse to eat anything green. I realized then that maybe I was doing something different and that I might be able to help other parents get a healthy diet into their kiddos, and help them teach their kids to be good eaters from the beginning, like I had with Lorelei. And so, on March 13th, 2011 (1 year ago today), I decided to share my "recipes, tips, kitchen foibles and philosophies" with anyone who might want to read; and so was born The Food-Minded Mama.

It has been a very fun year of documenting what we're cooking and of memories with friends in the kitchen and around the table. It's also been very rewarding having been named a Blog of the Month by Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution (based on my original, kid-friendly recipes). And, of course, it's been very flattering (to date over 7,500 people have visited my blog). I am pleased to say that my readers are not only parents, but people who are looking for easy, tasty recipes. (I love that!)

There have been some frustrating times too. When I wrote what has become my most popular post "Definitions - ... And now I'm a snob" I really had to dig deep and define what my thoughts were about my perspective on feeding kids. (I also had to hit the delete button a lot to keep the post PG rated.) I have also had to come to terms with the fact that people take some things that I say in this blog very personally. I've been called a snob, curt, rude, judgmental, hoity toity, you name it. Here's how I've decided to deal with this; I won't let my feelings get hurt anymore and I ask that people just, please, don't read if they don't like what I have to say. Turn the page. Look away. It's a blog. It's my blog. My thoughts. It's not a news paper. It's not a thesis. It's my life. 

On the other hand, I would very much appreciate a comment if someone has a different perspective or would like to start a conversation. Contact me. Let's talk about it. So much of my perspective on food is based on a lot of personal issues that I have with food; mostly aversions. Deep rooted, gag reflex kind of stuff is the true foundation of many of my strong opinions. Chances are that if I say something with fervor or disdain it's because of my issues with food, not because of any judgment that I'm passing on the rest of the world.



Like many bloggers who have experienced some success in reaching a larger audience, I have aspirations of making The Food-Minded Mama more than what it is today. I would ideally like to earn some secondary (if not primary) income from the blog. (I certainly put a lot of hours and thought into it.) And, of course, there's a book deal and/or a movie in my future, right?

I want to be sure to thank my friends and family for their support and encouragement (and editing services for the bigger pieces.) A big thanks to my sponsor Fonté Café and Wine Bar where I spend my mornings writing and poking the Twitter bear. Thanks also to The Jamie Oliver Food Foundation for confirming that this mama has something to say that may help someone else. I appreciate so much of what Jamie and his foundation are doing and I am thrilled to be even a small part of it.

And so, for now, onward and upward. I'll finish this post with some of my favorite posts from the past year.

Chicken Soup and Bathtime

Ah Summertime

Gnocchi - Part 1: Lessons from a Pastaio

Gnocchi - Part 2, Making it at Home With My Babes

I Like'a da Meatballs'a - A Basic Recipe with Two Preparations

Me against Three

Braised Short Ribs. 'Nuf Said.

Spilling My Pumpkin Guts


Mom's Tip
If you have an idea, go for it!
If someone challenges your position, take that challenge, chew on it, and be willing to change your mind.
Stay true to who you are.
Kiss your baby and hug your friends and family.
And, by all means, laugh!


Santé


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Gardening ideas - herbs for the kitchen/fresh munchies for the kids

I rarely (if never) repost an idea from someone else, but this is such a fantastic idea that I really felt that I should.

We are getting to that time of year where we need to start planting and potting all of the foods that we want to incorporate into our recipes and this is a great way to recycle and make something really quite pretty.

From Pinterest.com I give you: Potted Pallets.










I see this on my porch PDQ along side my soon to be potted parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, tarragon, chives, peas, lettuces, greens, blah-da-blahda-blah.

 Anyhoo, Enjoy.



Mom's Tip
Let your kids, little and not so little, help in the planting process. This will give them a sense of ownership of the project and will almost guarantee that they will eat and enjoy the fruits of their labor. And what could be better that fresh picked strawberries out of their own strawberry pot with their morning yogurt?

 Santé

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Garlic Parsley Spaghetti

You know when you look in the fridge and nothing, and I mean nothing looks good? When you really don't want those leftovers, or that flavor right then? That happened to me the other night, in spades. Lorelei, David (my sweetheart), and I had had a wonderful day. We three were busy playing music and generally goofing around when I looked up at the clock and realized how far past dinner time it had gotten. I needed something fast and I wanted it to be light. This is what came out of my head... and my fridge.


Garlic Parsley Spaghetti (with a celery twist)
The thing I really liked about this recipe is that in the time it took to boil the water and cook the noodles, dinner was done.

Ingredients
serves three-four people


Spaghetti noodles
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup chopped parsley
1 cup of the light green, leafy stalks in the center of a large celery stalk, chopped
1 stick Butter or 1/2 cup of olive oil (I did a mix of both)
Salt
Freshly cracked pepper

Directions
Set to boil a large pot of well-salted water. While waiting for the water to boil, chop the parsley, garlic, and celery hearts (stalks, leaves and all). Then, in a large sauté pan, melt the butter over medium-high heat (or add the olive oil), then add the parsley and celery, salt and pepper. Let that cook for a few minutes, then add the garlic and stir regularly, so as to not let the garlic burn. When you're water in boiling, cook up the noodles, strain and toss with the sauce. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and voilà!! Dinner is served.


Mom's Tip
I like using the light, tender parts of celery stalks for recipes like this or for those that ask for parsley. It adds a sweet, light note to dishes and uses up a part of the stalk that might otherwise go to waste. It's also another way to sneak in some veggies to your diet. (Always good for me.)



Santé

Friday, February 10, 2012

Cream of Broccoli Soup - So Easy!

I found myself facing a glut of broccoli the other night. You see, both my boyfriend (yep... you read that right! Not so single anymore. Yay!!!)  

anyhoo

... both my boyfriend and I bought giant bunches of broccoli and it needed to get used up ASAP! I've never made broccoli soup before but I thought I would take a stab at it.

Here's what I did:

Diced 1/2 an onion and a couple ribs of celery then sauteed that in some olive oil. I threw in a pealed and diced Yukon Gold potato and let that sautee along side the aromatics. (I thought that the potato would add some heft to the soup, and it did. Yum!) Next in, 2 1/2-3 cups of diced broccoli and a box of chicken stock and a generous pinch of salt.

I let that simmer over medium heat for a good long while, lice 20-30 minutes, then brought out my trusty Braun Hand Blender (you know, the one I got from the infomercial oh so many years ago.) Buzz, buzz, buzzed the soup to make it creamy. Then I added about 1/2 a cup of cream, freshly cracked pepper, and some freshly grated nutmeg. Let that simmer until the rest of dinner was cooked (sauteed petrale sole.) Tasted for seasoning and voilà!

Cream of broccoli soup.



Enjoy.

Santé

Friday, January 27, 2012

"You put what? Where?" - My jalapeño mishap

I've never claimed to be a genius, but I certainly hope that I've learned a very important lesson in the wake of what happened the other night.

Let's put this in the Foible category, shall we?

Our friends Bonnie and Klaire came over the other night. After dinner, the girls went off to play in Lorelei's room and I started in on making the jalapeño salsa for the Huevos Picante recipe that I had posted the day before. I chopped the onions, smashed the garlic, and sliced up the chilis; no prob. I was sure to wash my hands well after handling the chilis, but I learned that I had failed miserably to rid my fingers of the flesh-searing chili oils when I scratched my nose; yes, the inside of my nose.

I may as well have jabbed a white hot poker in my nostrils. I could almost smell the nose hairs burning and I had no idea how to quell the pain. Bonnie saw my eyes swell with tears, then quickly soaked a paper towel with milk and shoved it up my nose. (What are friends for, right?) That worked for a second. But I needed more. NOW!

So what did my dumb ass do? I dipped two Q-Tips in vanilla yogurt and shoved those suckers up my nose. Yes, people, I was walking around the kitchen with dairy-laden swabs tickling my sinuses. Sexy, huh? I'm here to tell you, though; yogurt up your nose really works to take the pain of jalapeño oil away!

And then I touched my eye...

CRAAAAAP!!!


Yeah. I never claimed to be a genius.




Santé.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Huevos Picante (Freaking awesome eggs!!)

From time to time, one of the guys in the kitchen puts breakfast out for the staff to eat before a busy shift at the restaurant. One of my favorite dishes are these eggs that Javiere makes that are so tasty that, if I'm not careful, I totally gorge myself on. I finally asked him to show me how it's done and I can't wait to give it a try at home. It's wildly simple and REALLY freaking good.


Ingredients:
Serves 4

for the sauce
5 fresh jalapeno, seeded
3 cloves of garlic
1 onion
1 tomato

for the eggs
2-3 eggs per person

other 
Salted boiling water for cooking the peppers  
Vegetable oil for cooking up the eggs
Corn tortillas, heated over a flame (if you have a gas stove) or in the oven.


Directions:
Boil the chilis, onion, tomato, and garlic in lightly salted water until they are cooked through, but not totally falling apart; about ten minutes or so. When they are ready, place the chilis and garlic in a blender or food processor with just enough of the cooking liquid to loosen the mixture and create a sauce. (Tip: while you're blending the chilis, add water little by little until you get the consistency of a thicker salsa.) Set aside.

Beat the eggs in a bowl. Then, heat the vegetable oil (enough to fill the pan by 1/4") in a sautee pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is just to the smoking point, pour in the beaten eggs.



They will puff up immediately and smell amazing! Stir gently until they are nearly cooked through then add the chili sauce.





Stir in the sauce, turn down the heat a bit, and let the eggs simmer for about five minutes in the chili goodness.

Serve them up with your heated tortillas and STAND BACK!! 'Cause I'm SO coming over for breakfast.

Thanks Javie!



Mom's Tip

This dish isn't all that low in fat, but it is a fantastic way to have a hearty meal that will stick to your ribs and keep you going all day. The texture of the eggs is much like meat and is very satisfying.



Santé

Monday, January 16, 2012

Keeping up with myself

There is something about this blog that I'm realizing in the new year; it's a challenge to keep it going. That, and it's making me realize that I'm getting stuck in a rut with my food.

(I tried to make a stir fry the other night just to switch it up a bit... FOIBLE!! I'm not sure how I screwed it up, but boy did I ever!! My stomach is still turning thinking about it. Eeesh!)

Then there's the fact that I am technologically challenged these days. My computer is so out of date that it takes forever for me to upload pictures, get them on the site, blah blah blah. It's just a frustrating process and so I don't do it.

There's also what I call 'Poking the Twitter Bear.' Maintaining a presence on Twitter to drum up readership takes time out of my day that I just can't seem to find. Maybe it's that I don't feel as witty as 140 characters can accommodate. Who knows.

And finally, (and most importantly) the time that I was spending on the blog I have had to take to look for a job. I've been waiting tables since I graduated in 2006. This has given me a lot of flexibility to travel and it's allowed me to be more present while Lorelei was little, but now the time has come that I have to sit my butt down behind a desk and make some 'real' money.

This post sounds a little glum, I'll admit, but truth be told, this year has been fantastic!! Professionally frustrating but personally amazing. More to come on that one.

Well, here's to me finding a job, finding inspiration for recipes, and finding the time to share it all with you. I do have something brewing for The Food-Minded Mama that I'll be announcing in the coming week or so, so check back soon to see what's up!


Happy New Year!


Santé




Friday, January 6, 2012

LEFTOVERS!!!!!!

The best part of my Christmas Orphan, pot roast dinner (food-wise, at least) is the leftovers.

There is a reality that we, in the the 21st century, and especially in Seattle (apparently), have to deal with; if an invitation is extended, for the most part, it becomes an idea that floats out into the universe like a bubble that can either be taken or left to dangle and fizzle, even up to hours before the event. My bubble popped with a bang resulting in having only one attendee for my pot roast 'Christmas orphan' dinner. (He was a very welcome guest, for sure, but certainly couldn't help Lorelei and I consume all of what I had made for that night's meal.)

The subsequent plethora of leftover stewed meat has forced me to turn on my creative buttons and have resulted in some freaking good meals that in no way resemble the original!!

YAY me!!!

Yum #1

Pulled beef sandwiches


Ingredients:
Leftover pot roast
Cheese of your choice (I used cheddar/gruyere mix)
Good bread like Great Harvest's Rosemary Diamante (the rosemary made this sandwich!)
One shallot , sliced into strips

Instructions:
- Heat the meat up in some water or beef stock then pull it apart into small strips, then drain a bit, leaving some of the moisture.
- Shred the cheese.
- Over medium heat, brown the shallots in olive oil.
- Lightly toast the bread

Notice the princess paper towels. Love that!!

Then, when all of the components are prepped, place the drained meat on the thick slice of toasted bread, top the meat with the shredded cheese and bake in a 350º oven (or toaster oven) until the cheese is good n' melty (Technical terms here, people. Highly technical!) Then, when your melty goodness is good n' melty, top it with your shallots and serve with a salad.


Yum #2

Beef Stroganoff (no pics... just too good to stop and shoot. Just imagine beige, creamy goodness, and you'll be ok.)


Ingredients:
Leftover pot roast
1/2 White onion sliced into strips
Olive oil for sauteeing (about 2 tbsp)
1/2 cup Beef stock
1/2 cup Mushroom soup concentrate
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tsp white vinaigre
Salt & Pepper
Egg Noodles


Instructions:
Boil a big pot of salted water for the noodles.

Over medium-high heat, lightly sautee the onions. After three minutes or so, add the amount of meat that you want to have in your dish. Let it warm through a bit then add the beef stock. Allow the mix to simmer over medium heat for a bit, breaking apart the meat into thin strips. When the meat is separated, add the mushroom stock, sour cream, and vinaigre. Mix and simmer.

Meanwhile, cook your noodles. By the time they are done cooking, your meat and sauce will be ready. Drain well, serve noodles and top with  your sauce.

As Lorelei said, "Num mom!!!"
This is a good one...

Santé